The Wirral Leaks Effect – Sunshine After The Shame

Clean up 019

Well,well, well what a difference a Wirral Leaks blog post makes . We’ve been sent this picture by a grateful reader after the clean up operation to remove the obscene graffiti on the substation at the bottom of Holt Hill, Birkenhead. They also tell us the weather has picked up since Monday! So, it’s all good!

If we re-publish the original picture below we’re sure we can all agree that whoever was assigned the de- graffiti task has done a really good job.

Grafitti 016

However call us cynical – guilty as charged –  but we couldn’t help but ask ourselves was the prompt action prompted by the upcoming local elections. Indeed it is all very reminiscent of a story we ran almost exactly two years ago when the local elections were last held.

That particular story was appropriately titled The Shame Game  and highlighted a derelict billboard site on Borough Road , Birkenhead which had been in a terrible state for a long time. A local resident contacted us and hey presto! –  next thing you know the site is cleared and the billboard restored!

Host 010

As we wrote at the time :

After complaining to Wirral Council to no avail about fly-tipping and general dereliction in their neighbourhood it only takes a few shaming pictures to us and lo and behold the situation is sorted first thing the following week  , as clearly someone with the power to do so has picked up the phone and told someone to sort it pronto!

We are expecting  a photo-op with a local councillor taking the credit in an election leaflet any time soon. This shamelessly happened after the clean up of the waste ground on Oxton Rd/Balls Rd East just up the road from the scenes above when Council “leader” Power Boy Pip Davies posed with a hapless local shopkeeper despite the site being left in a mess for many months before we were contacted by a despairing and long -suffering local resident who’d had enough of the biblical-like plague of bluebottles putting the fly into flytipping.

We’ve commented before that Wirral Council seem to be operating a system of governance by blog  – as it seems that be it street lights, potholes , thieves , unlawful parking charges ,the hiring of consultants, cover ups ,the sexual imbroglios of senior managers  or the corruption of councillors it seems the only way to get Wirral Council to do anything about “cleaning up the mess” is to shame them into it!

 

The Hole Truth

Mere Farm Before

The truth is beginning to emerge on one our Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #2 stories concerning road repairs which we think shows how things work – or rather don’t work at Wirral Council. As you can see from the above picture these potholes in Mere Farm Road, Oxton were reported to Wirral Council’s ‘Streetscene’ department in December 2017 (and we understand had been raised as a concern months before that). A service request to address the potholes elicited the following response from Wirral Council in January 2018 :

An inspection of this carriageway has been carried out and although there are areas of wear, none of the defects are actionable at this time. No works to be undertaken.

Local  Lib Dem councillor Stuart Kelly followed up concerns raised by local residents at the end of January . Pictures were provided and incredulity expressed that the criteria for repairs had not been met.

Then suddenly without explanation to either residents or Cllr Kelly the road  is suddenly all marked up for repair. Perhaps the person sent by Wirral Council to inspect the site had gone to Specsavers in the interim. It has also been suggested that perhaps our intervention was foreseen as residents had vowed to contact a certain local blog . Which they indeed did and subsequently have done so again .

 

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When it was reported to us today that the repairs had completed we thought it was a case of all’s well that ends well.  However look at the pictures below and judge for yourselves.

Road1

 

Road2

A local resident writes :

Believe it or not , the attached shows the road AFTER it has been repaired.

The substrata is just perfectly exposed  for winter ice formation leading to further break up and another round of public money to fix what should have been a proper job six months ago !

We’re left wondering whether it’s laziness/incompetence of contractors  or BAM Nuttall giving on the highways contract after being controversially ousted in favour of bringing road repairs back in house in October 2018 . Whatever the situation it’s dispiriting to think it will be the same people responsible for inspecting and carrying out repairs in the future.

We’re reliably informed there are similar issues in Village Road , Oxton. Pictures from other sites around Wirral would be welcome. Perhaps we could introduce a new feature to Wirral Leaks  : Pothole of the Week.

Let There Be Light

Left in the dark 007

Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.…

Once again we are grateful to one of our readers who has sent us a copy of yesterday’s front page of the Wirral edition of the Liverpool Echo.

We didn’t even know there was such a publication – the last time we bought the Echo on a Saturday it was pink and we’d check the football results with our pools coupon.

However what drew our reader’s attention was the glaring front page headline  :” Left in the dark” and the sub-heading – “Promise of Action on Wirral Street Lights”. Our puzzled reader was curious to see whether this was a lazy re-tread of a story we’d run on 29  January – and if so why exactly two weeks later a story about street lights is on the front page of the Liverpool Echo.

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2016/01/29/shine-a-light/

The puzzle was solved when our reader turned to page 8 to see the source of the story was Birkenhead MP Frank ” Light of The World” Field  , because as we know that round here it’s not news until Frank  reports it. What’s more we all know that  when it comes to being in the media spotlight the super trouper beams are always going to find him!.

The late to the party Labour MP says in the report that residents’ concerns centred “on the apparent lack of urgency shown by the council’s Streetscene department to address each fault once it has been reported”.

What amused us more than anything else in the report was the response of Cllr Stuart Whittingham ,Wirral Council’s cabinet member for transport. When we first covered the story we included stats from former Lib Dem councillor Stuart Kelly. It was in response to Kelly’s tweet that Witless Whittingham further enhanced his resemblance to the Matt Lucas character George Dawes (“He’s a baby”)  by spitting his dummy out of the pram during this Twitterspat  :

twitterspat

Now you’ve witnessed the kind of high level political debate that Witless Whittingham indulges in compare and contrast his tittylipped response  with his grovelling apology in the Echo report :

“Sadly , this year we’ve seen increased levels of vandalism and unreported collision damage, which has contributed to a higher than normal number of outstanding faults . We have not been able to respond to this increase as well as I would like , so we are taking special action to deal with the backlog . I’d like to apologise to residents for not responding sooner to their concerns”.

Left in the dark 008

Of course there’s no mention of the fact that the ending of regular streetlight surveys has undoubtedly contributed to this dim situation . Nevertheless now that our saviour Frankenfield has declared “let there be light” we can now expect that Wirral will be lit up like Reno.

Shame that Field wants to keep us “left in the dark ” about  other matters concerning former Wirral Council streetscene workers though isn’t it ?. Accordingly  can we advise our readers not to expect that particular story lighting up the front page of the Echo any time soon !!!.

Streetlights lookalikes

WitlessGeorge Dawes -He's a baby

light of the worldSt Frank